Downtown faces grace mall spaces

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November 22, 2004 // UPDATED 4:43 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

Sixty portraits of Downtown workers and residents -- from high-profile executives to baristas -- are on display in the City Center, 615 Hennepin Ave. S.

The "Citi-Zens" display will feature photographs of Downtown faces at four locations in the shopping center. Currently, several photos are on display at street level near the mall's entrance at Nicollet Mall & South 7th Street.

Those on display include Darin McGowan, a City Center custodian; Debra Sholl, a member of Target's Volunteer Council; Kimberly Lafayette, a customer services manager at City Center's Office Depot; Chris Wright, president of the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Lynx; Jeff Rathermel, artistic director of the Minnesota Center for Book Arts; and Kit Hadley, director of the Minneapolis Public Library, among many others.

The photographs will be on display until fall 2005 when the mall's renovations are expected to be complete. City Center is repositioning itself as a shopping center for retailers geared toward basic services. City Center's landlord Brookfield Properties has enlisted the commercial real estate firm Colliers Turley Martin Tucker (CTMT) to assist in reshaping the mall to cater to Downtown residents and workers.

Brookfield Properties and CTMT hope to secure a grocery store, a daycare and a clinic that offers quick medical services, among other things.

Betsy Buckley, a marketing consultant for Brookfield Properties who organized the "Citi-Zens" display, said the portraits give people an idea about Downtown's diverse nature.

The photos also give potential retailers a better idea of who passes through City Center on a daily basis. An estimated 80,000 walk through the shopping mall on any given weekday, Buckley said.

"Citi-Zens are people who live or work Downtown and whose lives enrich the fiber and fabric Downtown," she said. "We're really trying to say that there is a broad spectrum of people Downtown."

Each photograph is accompanied by a quote.

Buckley asked the "Citi-Zens" to talk about their current roles Downtown, memories from childhood and wish lists they have for the future.

City Center's McGowan said, "Downtown's diversity of experience has never been greater, and I love being here."

Keith and Carol Rosenblum, a couple who live and work Downtown and are originally from New York City, praised the city's amenities. "It has 95 percent of the good of New York and none of the bad."

Dana Munson, a local actor and producer, said the city has become more vibrant. "In the 10 years I've lived Downtown, it's become so cosmopolitan."

A Downtown couple, Patty and Tom Holloran, echoed Munson, saying that they've seen positive change in the city over the past 22 years they've been Downtown residents.

"Our first jobs were here -- as a retail clerk and the office boy at the Grain Exchange," the couple said. "We don't just work, shop and live here -- we entertain here, we do our volunteer work here, we pray here."